Implementation of Super7 Operations can benefit from ShuHaRi, the Japanese learning-technique that is often used to introduce Agile Scrum. This way, you can give the team the responsibility for how to apply the principles of Super7, as soon as they are ready for it.
Should we ask the people from the shop floor to participate in the design of Super7? As Super7’s are supposed to be autonomous, why not give them autonomy in how Super7 Operations is applied in their teams? These questions often arise when organizations are planning to adopt Super7 Operations.
I feel that it is a very good idea to give the Super7 teams full autonomy on how they apply the principles of Super7. However:
- People can only be expected to master the principles, and apply them to their own view, when they first fully understand them;
- And, they can only fully understand them after they have experienced working with them;
- And experience isn’t gained through explaining and training, but through doing.
My approach to implementing Super7 Operations is based on ShuHaRi, a Japanese teaching philosophy. So, a bit of theory, then:
ShuHaRi describes three phases that you go through when learning a technique:
Shu: As a student, you follow the teachings of the master precisely. You don’t have to know the underlying principles. You practice the standard way that the master teaches you.
Ha: You are now able to execute the new technique, and you start to recognize the principles and theory behind it. The teacher may help you by explaining the principles to you. You now start to experiment with applying the principles, not only the standard that you have been taught.
Ri: You are now able to improve on the standard, by applying the principles. You use your experience to make the technique better for your situation. The principles are so clear to you that you can apply them without help from a master.
The ShuHaRi method is now widely used within Scum and Agile software development. Alistair Cockburn translated this Japanese martial arts best-practice to a way to learn techniques and methodologies for software development.
In our most recent Super7 Operations implementation projects, we’ve applied ShuHaRi in combination with the Improvement Kata. See my previous posts on the subject of Kata for more information. ShuHaRi and Improvement Kata are combined to give the team weekly target conditions that they can experiment towards, where the focus shifts from instruction towards freedom to change the method as seen fit. But this is perhaps too abstract, too much for one blog post. I will go into my approach to implementation in more detail in the near future.
Menno R. van Dijk.